Catalogue description Board of Trade: Commercial and Statistical Department and successors: Outwards Passenger Lists

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Date range

Details of BT 27
Reference: BT 27
Title: Board of Trade: Commercial and Statistical Department and successors: Outwards Passenger Lists

Passenger lists of people leaving the United Kingdom by sea kept by the Board of Trade's Commercial and Statistical Department and its successors.

Electronic images of these records can be searched online through our partner website.

Date: 1890-1960

The lists are arranged under the names of the ports of departure.

In the Liverpool lists for most years is a batch of small sized lists. Although these lists are mostly high numbers they have all been placed in the first folder of their respective month.

For most months the lists in each port have been numbered, and the individual months are in numerical order. This numbering has been done by the Statistics Division with a definite purpose, and although no index to this numbering is available prior to 1901 the Statistics Division requested that the order be maintained.

All passengers' names were entered on ships' schedules or lists. To find a passenger in the records you need to know on which ship they sailed. You can search the Catalogue by port of departure.

There are other websites that may be useful to search for ships leaving British ports between 1892 and 1936.

Electronic images of passenger lists leaving the United Kingdom (1890-1960) can be searched by name through our website.

The records of immigrants to the USA are available online. Some $450 million was raised by public subscription to restore the Ellis Island complex including the American Family Immigration History Center (AFIHC) and archive for the immigrant arrival records. The records were made available on the Internet on 17th April 2001. The immigrant records begin in 1892 and end in 1920, which covers some of the years of The National Archives passenger lists. By searching for passengers arriving at Ellis Island it may be possible to identify the ship and port of departure in Britain. When the British port of departure is known, return to the records series BT 27 and look for the date and port of departure. You should then be able to identify a full document reference to find the passenger list that you want.

Another website that holds information about passengers to North America is the National Archives of Canada. The National Archives have made available a number of databases of ships and immigrants arriving in Canada between 1865 and 1937.

The Scottish Emigration Database created by the University of Aberdeen lists (but without images) details of people leaving Glasgow and Greenock for non-European ports between 1 January and 30 April 1923; and leaving other Scottish ports between 1890 and 1960.

Related material:

For registers see BT 32

Separated material:

Lists earlier in date than 1890 have not survived. The following individual sheets of outwards lists have not been traced so far: Liverpool No. 32 April 1894 London No. 3 December 1891 London No. 25 February 1892

Held by: The National Archives, Kew
Legal status: Public Record(s)
Language: English

Board of Trade, Commercial, Labour and Statistical Department, 1895-1916

Board of Trade, Statistical Department, 1918-1945

Board of Trade, Statistics Division, 1945-1970

Physical description: 1922 box(es)
Access conditions: Available in digital format unless otherwise stated
Unpublished finding aids:

Lists of outwards passengers by port are available at TNA, Kew.

Administrative / biographical background:

Between 1890 and 1920, among the highest tonnage of ships were leaving British ports bound for North America. Many passengers were emigrants from Britain, Ireland and Europe. European emigrants bound for America entered the United Kingdom because travelling steerage was less expensive from a British port than from a port in Europe. The shipping companies imposed restrictions on passengers registering, passengers had to have British residency of six weeks to qualify. Many passengers too impatient to qualify for residency changed their names to avoid detection.

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